update deskMiddle East

Bipartisan Senate bill targets ‘hostile Iranian space activities’

“The next step to ending Iranian aggression is by deepening the United States’ international space partnerships,” says Sen. Joni Ernst.

The flag of Iran on a toy rocket. Credit: Novikov Aleksey/Shutterstock.
The flag of Iran on a toy rocket. Credit: Novikov Aleksey/Shutterstock.

In 2018, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) suggested that one of those behind a space laser that was causing California fires was the Jewish Rothschild family. She drew widespread ridicule for the social media post, but there are very real threats beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

A bipartisan bill that Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), co-chairs of the Abraham Accords Caucus, introduced focuses on the Iranian threat in space.

The Space Technology and Regional Security (STARS) Act “would build on the Abraham Accords by requiring the Department of Defense to develop a strategy and data-sharing agreement to protect allies and partners in the Middle East from hostile Iranian space activities,” the senators state.

“This improved space and satellite security coordination would enhance U.S. space situational awareness, defend against threats from adversaries and deepen space cooperation with Israel and other allies in the Middle East,” they add.

“The next step to ending Iranian aggression is by deepening the United States’ international space partnerships to improve awareness of the Middle East,” Ernst wrote. “After the success of the DEFEND Act and MARITIME Act in intercepting Iran-backed attacks at land and sea, the STARS Act will adapt this model to space and use 21st Century technology to deter Iran.”

Rosen stated, “As Iran and its terrorist proxies escalate their aggression against Israel and continue to destabilize the Middle East, it’s critical that we work with our allies in the region to bolster collaboration in all areas of defense.”

The Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security of America said it “strongly supports” the bill that the two senators put forward.

“As Iran-backed projectile attacks continue to inflict significant and tragic costs across the Middle East, space-based sensors could help detect those launches earlier and faster,” JINSA said, citing its prior reports.

“Advances by U.S. regional partners—namely Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel—in satellite development provide an opportunity to develop integrated space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the Middle East,” the think tank continued.

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